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Feeders Feed Cows While You're Away
At least three companies have introduced "delay feeders" that feed cows automatically while you're away to increase milk and butterfat production.
FARM SHOW first featured Dan Pitzen, Clinton, Iowa and his "Delay Feeder" 2 years ago (Vol. 8, No. 6). Since then, Dyna-Matic Feeding Systems, Plymouth, Minn., has introduced its "Snack Feeder" and Starline Products, Inc., Harvard, Ill. has unveiled its "Grain Brain" feeding system.
While the three systems differ, they're similar in that they allow you to double the number of times per day you feed cows grain. For example, if you normally feed at 6:00 in the morning and evening, you feed half as much to each animal and put the other half in the grain holder. Then, later in the day or night such as noon and midnight a timer automatically triggers the release of the feed in the grain holders to the cows.
Manufacturers of the new feeders claim milk production increases of 2 to 6 lbs. per cow per day, plus increased butterfat production. In addition, there's the time and labor savings of having the extra feedings done automatically. Manufacturers also note that more frequent feedings of lesser quantities may help reduce acidosis by reducing the overload on the rumen.
Here's a closer look at the three systems:
"Delay Feeder"
Dan Pitzen's system features individual feeders that hold 20 lbs. of grain. Each feeder serves two cows and is clamped to the stanchion or tie stall posts just above the manger. It's mounted high enough so cows can't eat out of it. Pitzen notes that you can equip your entire barn with the feeders, or just install them for a few top producers to test out the system.
An electro-magnetic solenoid activates a lever to open the feeder door when the timer so indicates.
Delay Feeders sell for $110 each, while the timer and switch sell for $65.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dan Pitzen, P.O. Box 167, Clinton, Iowa 52732 (ph 319 243-9010; evenings call 242-5108).
"Snack Feeder"
This new feeder from Dyna-Matic Feeding Systems also feeds two cows at once. Its plastic dispenser unit holds about 20 lbs. of shelled corn. It, too, is mounted just out of the cow's reach. The unit's trap doors are opened by an air cylinder connected by air line to an air compressor controlled by a timer.
Snack Feeders sell for $107 each. The base control unit consisting of the air compressor, timer, and air line sells for $350 and will accommodate up to 100 cows.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dyna-Matic Feeding Systems, Inc., 17000 Medina Rd., Plymouth, Minn. 55447 (ph 612 559-5007).
"Grain Brain"
Developed by Minnesota veterinarian Dr. Ron Dubbe, this system provides one 2-gal. plastic feeder per cow. Steel mesh over the top lets you mount the feeder low so it's easy to dump feed in but the cow can't stick her nose in to sneak feed out.
A weighted shut-off ball inside the feeder is lifted automatically by galvanized aircraft cable pulled by a power cylinder powered by a compressor that generates nearly 500 lb of pull. The cable is enclosed in pipe along the stanchion to keep the cow from tripping it.
System sells for $56 per stall plus $640 for the control and power unit.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Starline Products, Inc., 300 West Front St., Harvard, Ill. 60033 (ph 800 435-2825; in Ill. 815 943-4441).


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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #3